How to Choose a Truck Driving School near Calvert Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Calvert AL. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Calvert home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal means to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Calvert AL, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate with Class A licenses are:
- Interstate or Intrastate Tractor Trailers
- Trucks with Double or Triple Trailers
- Tanker Trucks
- Livestock Carriers
- Class B and Class C Vehicles
Class B CDL. A Class B Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that drivers may be qualified to operate with Class B licenses are:
- Tractor Trailers
- Dump Trucks
- Cement Mixers
- Large Buses
- Class C Vehicles
Both Class A and Class B CDLs may also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Calvert AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are a few additional things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Calvert AL area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Calvert AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Calvert AL schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Calvert AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Calvert AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Calvert AL school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Calvert AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Calvert AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Calvert AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Calvert Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Kenneth Stanton Calvert (born June 8, 1953) is the U.S. Representative for California's 42nd congressional district, and previously the 44th and 43rd, serving since 1993. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district is part of the Inland Empire of Southern California.
Calvert was born in Corona, California, to Marceline Hamblen and Ira D. Calvert, Jr., and still lives in Corona. In 1970, shortly after high school, he joined the campaigns of former state legislator Victor Veysey. Calvert worked in Veysey's Washington, D.C., office as an intern after a 1972 victory. He graduated from Corona High School in 1971.
Calvert received an Associate of Arts degree from Chaffey Community College in 1973 and a Bachelor of Arts degree San Diego State University in 1975. After graduation, he managed his family's restaurant, the Jolly Fox, in Corona for five years. He then entered the real estate industry and ran Ken Calvert Real Properties until he was elected to Congress.
Select the Best Trucking School Calvert AL
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Calvert AL.
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